“The Client Who Fired Herself”

To this day we still laugh about it whenever the topic of firing clients arises. Here’s how it all started….. I accepted a new client named Mira who had been trying to get on my book for a long time. A vacancy opened up for a standing every 2 week appointment & she jumped on it.

Within a fairly short period of time she started to be 5 minutes late for her appointment. She was self employed like myself, so I figured she was covered up with all kinds of work & 5 minutes wasn’t that big of a deal. But then she started to be 10 minutes late, so we had to have a conversation about the need to be on time.

I shouldn’t have to tell people that because my salon policy is always in plain view & in a nutshell it states that the 1st time you are late, you’ll get an abbreviated service in the time that you’ve allowed me, but you’ll pay full price & your service will end when my next scheduled client arrives.

If you no-show or show up too late for your appointment to transpire at all, you’ll be charged 50% of the service that you booked. The 2nd time you’ll be charged 100% & must prepay before you can get back on my appointment book.  The 3rd time you’ll have to find a new nail tech.

The final straw came when Mira was 40 minutes late one day. I give reminder texts the day prior & she confirmed she’d be there at her appointment time. When she wasn’t, I texted her again to see if she was on her way & to make sure she was ok, but I never received a response.

After 20 minutes I texted my next client to see if she could come earlier, which she could. So while I was waiting for her to arrive & fuming because I’d lost 1 hour of income, I decided to water my salon garden to chill me out. While out on the porch with the hose in my hand, Mira finally arrives in her car. She walks up to the porch all casual-like, smiling really big & wiggles her fingers at me saying “Can you still do my nails now?

I replied “No, I’ve already texted my next client & she’ll be here any minute”. Mira stops walking towards me & says “Well, when can you get me in?”. As I continue watering my potted plants all nonchalantly, I respond “Just as soon as you pay me for tonight’s missed service”.

“But what if I don’t want to pay you?” was what she said next (she’s got big balls!), to which I replied “Well, then you can consider yourself fired & find a new nail tech” (I have big balls, too!).

Her last comment was “Oh”. And then she turned around, walked back to her car, got in it & drove away. I erased her from my appointment book & put the word out to all my clients that I had a standing appointment to fill in case they had a friend who wanted to get in. It was filled in no time flat by a good client who could show up on time.

But the really funny part came 2 weeks later when I was doing the nails of the woman (Jennifer) who had referred Mira to me. I never told anyone about what had transpired because I handled the problem & there was no need to blab about it. But while doing Jennifer’s nails she said “So, I heard you fired Mira”.

“Uh, no. She essentially fired herself” I explained. “I gave her the chance to pay me for her missed appointment & she chose not to, so the way I see it was that she fired herself.” Jennifer started to laugh & I had to ask “Did Mira tell you I fired her?”. Then Jennifer described how Mira had come into her store right after the incident happened & loudly exclaimed in distress “I just got fired by my nail tech!

To which Jennifer’s husband who also works in the store asked “Well, what did you do to piss her off?” 

It’s been at least 5 years ago that this happened & I haven’t had any similar incidents. I’ve run into Mira a few times since then, but I basically don’t even acknowledge her existence. Call me petty, but I take great pleasure in ignoring her presence.

However Jennifer still loves telling that story to everyone, especially to other clients of mine. It’s become the running joke that clients are just a little bit scared of me because they don’t want to be fired & they know I’ll do it if necessary!

we don't sugarcoat shit

THE PREQUEL: about 2 years prior to this incident, my client Sara & I were enjoying touring the Parade of Homes in our town. It’s a yearly event where builders get to showcase their mostly custom work (translation: very large & extremely expensive houses that most of us could never afford) while the paying public gets to meet them & we vote on “Best in show”, “Best kitchen”, “Best Bathroom” etc.

It’s a lot of fun because you get design ideas from the featured interior decorators, plus we can gather info on what company installed which brands of high-end windows/doors,  light fixtures, kitchen cabinets, driveway installation, landscaping, the paint colors used in each room, etc.

While touring one home, we walked into the kitchen & standing there was the interior decorator that I had fired a few years prior. She was “let go” because keeping appointments didn’t jive with her scattered & flaky life. The way I remember it was that we both acknowledged it just wasn’t working out & that she needed to go to a walk-in type of nail salon.

Anyway, she recognized me & saw that I recognized her. That meant we had to speak, so I went first by saying “Hi Tonya. How are you?” and we made brief pleasantries. Then I introduced my client Sara to her by saying “Tonya, this is my client Sara. Sara, this is Tonya, the interior decorator for this home”.

Then Tonya said to Sara “Nice to meet you. I used to get my nails done by her until she fired me”. I was caught by surprise & came back with “Uh, I wasn’t going to mention any of that”, to which she replied “Oh, it’s ok. My therapist fired me, too! I was always late.”

Well, at least she didn’t take things personally.

greatest accomplishment keeping mouth shut

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